Is the E92 BMW M3 a Beastly Bargain or a Massive Money Pit?

Depreciation has a funny way of making unobtainable luxury cars that much more attractive as time goes on. It’s like when you break up with a significant other and the next time you see them, they look better than ever. Take the E92 BMW M3, for example, back in 2010, it retailed for around $60,000, but now you can find them all day long for around $16,000 to $20,000. Your ex is looking pretty good right about now, aren’t they?

It’s tempting, right? Well, just in case you end up randomly perusing the classifieds one lonely night and finding the E92 M3 of your dreams, there are a few things you should know about it first. Sure, that massive price depreciation is your trusty wingman (or woman), but what it’s not telling you is that there are a few hurdles to get through before you can ride off into the sunset in your beloved M3. So, as a word of caution, here are a few of the issues you might run into.

Rod bearings

2010 BMW M3
2010 BMW M3 | BMW

Type in “E92 BMW M3” into Google Search and you’ll be greeted with a number of videos and articles that are quick to point out the car’s penchant for rod bearing failure. In a nutshell, what that means is that the M3’s glorious 4.0-liter V8 engine was built with tight tolerances, like a race car engine, and thus needs to be properly warmed up before it’s driven hard. The reason being is that the oil flowing through the engine needs to get thin and warm enough to lubricate the bearings.

And since you’re buying the M3 with years of unknown use, it’s more likely that the previous owners drove the car hard without any proper care, so now you just paid $16,000 for a ticking time bomb that’s relentless when it explodes as you’ll be on the side of the road in need of an engine rebuild. Therefore, it is widely suggested that you do some preventive maintenance and get the rod bearings replaced as soon as you can, which will allow you to enjoy the car much longer. The only issue is that this job can cost around $2,500 to $3,000 depending on the shop that you go to.

2010 BMW M3 | Youtube

Throttle actuators

Another common issue with the E92 M3 is that the throttle actuators like to fail at random, but don’t worry, there’s only two of them that you’ll need to replace. Fortunately, when they do fail, it’s not as damaging to the engine so they are less costly to replace. Again, preventative maintenance is key, so you’re better off replacing the early, which could cost you around $1,200 or so.

It’s not fuel-efficient

That wonderful V8 under the hood is a thing of beauty, both visually and auditory. However, it’s also not very fuel-efficient as it’s only able to achieve up to an EPA-estimated 14 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. But then again, who cares about fuel economy when you have a BMW beast like this, right? Well, you might care when you’re filling up twice a week, so that’s something to keep in mind.

2010 BMW M3 rear shot
2010 BMW M3 | BMW

Manual or DCT?

If you’re considering an E92 M3, then another part to think about is whether you want to row your own gears or have the car do it for you. This generation of the M3 came with either a six-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, but before you go and “save the manuals,” most people will suggest that you think about going with the automatic transmission. It sounds like blasphemy, we know, but consider the fact that the DCT shifts quicker than you ever could and it’s more comfortable for daily driving. Just keep in mind that it can cost around $800 or so to keep the transmission maintained as well.

2010 BMW M3
2010 BMW M3 | BMW

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Is the E92 BMW M3 right for you?

Now that we’ve ironed the most common issues when it comes to owning a BMW M3 from the 2008 to 2013 model years, it’s up to you to decide if it’s right for your lifestyle. While you can find one for a great bargain, you’ll likely need to budget around $6,000 just for preventative maintenance and even more for the fuel costs. But if that doesn’t sound good to you, then try giving your ex a call, the M3 will probably look much better to you after that.